Wednesday, December 10, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST December 10, 2008

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Equality Florida
Mark Your Calendar - 2009 Rally in Tally!
After the passage of Amendment 2, we need to tell our government and our state we are not going away. That's why, this year, Equality Florida will have its biggest legislative session yet. We will introduce bills to repeal Florida's shameful ban on gay and lesbian adoption, create domestic partnerships in Florida, provide basic housing and employment protections to LGBT Floridians and to end hate violence against all members of our community. In order to make our state a more fair place to live, WE NEED YOU. It can be done; last year we passed the anti-bully bill. Now more than ever, our legislature needs to hear from all of us. This year Equality Florida is partnering with allies across the state for a Rally in Tally for LGBT Rights on Monday, March 16. The rally will mark the start of our second annual Equality Florida Lobby Week. Come join us in Tallahassee for the rally, then stay for all or part of the week and talk to legislators about why your family matters. To register for Lobby Week, March 16-19, click the button below:

-In-District Visit Week
For those of you who don't want to wait until March to talk to your legislators, we are having an In-District Visit Week January 19-23. In-District visits allow constituents to talk to legislators without traveling to Tallahassee, the meetings are held in their local office. Equality Florida will help you set an appointment and train you to talk to your Representative or Senator. To sign up and receive your training, click here:

Care Resources
-Angel Toy Drive to Benefit HIV Positive Low Income Families.
December 2, 2008--The AIDS Ministry at St Stephen's Episcopal Church provides anonymous emergency financial assistance to persons with HIV/AIDS spectrum disease in Dade & Broward and has collected toys for the Food for Life Network, a subsidiary of Care Resource for the past 10 years. The Food for life Network is a non-profit organization providing food, food vouchers and meals to people and families living with AIDS/HIV. These are families living in poverty as defined by the United States Government. A family of 4 may earn no more than $18,850.00 per year. This leaves little or nothing for gifts at Christmas or any other time. This year the Day School Student Council is working in conjunction with the Aids Ministry to provide some cheer for these unfortunate families. Together outreach at St. Stephen's Church and Day School hope to make a significant impact during these trying financial times especially for those who are suffering with HIV/AIDS. At this Holiday Season we ask that you please help those less fortunate than you by taking an ornament from the tree and return it attached to a new, un-wrapped age appropriate gift for a boy or girl no later than Friday, 12th December. Volunteers, including neighborhood children, will be sorting and packaging toys December 12, 2008 from 1pm to 3pm. This is a perfect opportunity for you to cover this event before the toys are placed on the truck and sent to Care Resource. For more information about please contact Christopher Donahue, PR/Marketing Manager of Care Resource, at 305-576-1234 or
About Care Resource Care Resource is conveniently located in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and collectively provides services for over 8,000 clients. Our dedicated and loyal staff takes pride in creating and/or implementing prevention strategies within our affected communities. Our outreach and education initiatives, including testing, on-site medical care, research protocols as well as family counseling and support, offer a wide array of programs that respond to every need of our HIV at-risk and infected areas. We are pleased to announce that today over 3,000 HIV patients have benefited from participation in studies of promising new anti-HIV drugs conducted by our agency, resulting in 13 new FDA drug approvals.

-4th Annual Holiday Stocking Affair Benefiting Care Resource.
On Wednesday, December 17th, 2008, Bill's, (2209 Wilton Drive) and Care Resource present the 4th Annual Holiday Stocking Affair benefiting South Florida's oldest and largest HIV/AIDS service organization. Beginning at 6:30 PM, this event will once again prove to be very exciting as attendees are given the opportunity to bid on uniquely created, filled holiday stockings donated by community artists, merchants, organizations, and local celebrities such as yourself. 100% of the proceeds raised from this event will help us serve the needs of Care Resource clients. The past three years have seen this event blossom into an amazing success and this year the Holiday Stocking Affair is sure to be even bigger. We invite you to join in the fun! Let your imagination run wild! Think outside of the box! Create or sponsor a stocking (remember, creativity is important) and submit it to Care Resource for auction (or call us for a pickup) Attend the charity auction on Wednesday, December 17th. Eat, Drink and Support a worthy Cause For further information please feel free to contact me at 305-576-1234 Ext. 210 in Miami/Dade County or email me at the address below. We'll be contacting you soon to answer any questions you may have or schedule your stocking pickup!
Have a wonderful and joyous Holiday Season!
Christopher Donahue
Public Relations & Marketing Manager

Miami Herald
Go to the links for the following articles:

-AMENDMENT 2: Gay marriage here to stay
The vote approving Amendment 2 (the so-called ''marriage protection'' amendment) was a devastating but temporary setback for the cause of equal treatment for all.


Miami Herald
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-Change may fail more schools
Under a new state grading formula, Florida could be handing out a lot more F's. And even A and B schools could drop down to C and D schools.

-Broward leads nation in certified teachers
More teachers in Broward County have earned National Board Certification than any other district in the country. In Broward, 1,633 teachers have the certification, which is gained through a rigorous process. In Miami-Dade, 1,350 are certified, ranking it third in the nation and second in Florida, which leads the United States. Broward and Miami-Dade were also first and third nationally in the number of teachers certified in 2008: 358 in Broward and 221 in Miami-Dade, according to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The voluntary certification process takes one to three years to complete. In Florida, certified teachers receive an annual bonus for 10 years. Last school year, the bonus was about $5,300. However, state lawmakers cut funding for the program this year, reducing money paid to teachers who mentor colleagues seeking certification.

Fort Report
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Early-voting sites inadequate, state elections chief says
By Wes Allison, Times Staff Writer
Florida's elections chief plans to ask the state Legislature to expand the number of early-voting sites before the next election, saying the law simply doesn't permit enough sites to handle demand.

-Governor Crist and entourage traveled in style across Europe as businesses and taxpayers footed the bill
By Megan O'Matz
This summer, as the state's economy plunged, Gov. Charlie Crist took an entourage to Europe on a 12-day trade mission.,0,5721620.story

-U.S. Sugar approves sale of 181,000 acres to Florida
By Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writer
The board of directors of U.S. Sugar voted Monday to approve a $1.3-billion deal to sell 181,000 acres to the state for Everglades restoration. "After a lengthy day of discussions, the contract was signed, sealed and delivered unanimously by our board of directors," U.S. Sugar vice president Bob Coker said.

-Florida ranks last in access to emergency care
Florida ranks dead last in a national report card rating access to emergency care, according to a study released Tuesday by the American College of Emergency Physicians. Out of 50 states surveyed, Florida placed 50th.

-Welfare exploding in Fla. due to economy
The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida's top welfare official says public aid has exploded in the past 19 months due to the slumping economy. Department of Children & Families Secretary George Sheldon said 1.7 million Floridians are getting food stamps, up 45 percent since April 2007. He said that's the biggest increase in the nation.

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-Broward School Board To Ask For Federal Loan
The Broward County School Board voted Tuesday to empower its superintendent to ask for federal money. "We are not asking for a handout at all," said Superintendent Jim Notter. "We want to sit down and work out a no-interest loan to be paid back over 15 or 20 years."


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